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Half of toddlers at risk of tooth decay.

A Brant County Health Unit Report revealed that local toddlers are at increased risk for tooth decay because only half of them have been to the dentist.

Information collected by the BCHU through the Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System (RRFSS) showed that only 53.8 per cent of children under the age of four have had a dentist's appointment and only 17.4 per cent visited the dentist at the recommended age of one year.

RRFSS data is collected monthly by the Brant County Health Unit through a random survey of local residents.

The lack of care puts children at risk of "baby bottle mouth," a form of early childhood tooth decay caused when sugary foods stay on teeth for long periods of time. Early measures such as dental checkups would identify early cavities and prevent the need for more invasive measures such as drilling and fillings, said Joyce Sinton, Director of Child Heath for the BCHU, in a May 6 press release.

Another important risk factor for childhood tooth decay is sleeping or walking around with a bottle in the mouth or a sippy cup with liquids other than water. Wiping a baby's mouth after each feeding with a damp washcloth or brushing children's teeth with fluoride toothpaste if age appropriate are also key preventative measures.

Parents of children without dental coverage, who cannot afford a trip to the dentist, may be eligible for services through Healthy Smiles Ontario, a program which offers routine dental care to children of eligible families.

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Publication:Paris Chronicle (Paris, Canada)
Date:May 27, 2011
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